Shovels in the ground for Capricorn highway duplication
ENDING years of waiting, the sod has finally been turned to officially launch construction of the Capricorn Highway duplication between Rockhampton and Gracemere.
Brandishing shovels and plans mapping out the next two years of construction activity, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke couldn't be happier to see this project become a reality.
Funded through the Northern Australia Roads Program, the $74.99 million project received a $59.99 million contribution from the Australian Government and $15 million from the Queensland Government.
With construction taking place over two stages, the project was expected to be complete by early 2021, weather permitting.
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the project would deliver 5.2 kilometres of four-lane highway between Rockhampton and Gracemere.
"Project works will also include on-road cycling facilities and vital intersection upgrades at McLaughlin Street, as well as a new Fairy Bower Road/Old Capricorn Highway connection," Ms Landry said.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the project would provide a boost to the local economy.
"This fantastic project will support 187 job over its life, reduce travel times and improve access to Rockhampton during moderate flood events," Mr O'Dowd said.
There have been some complaints from locals that congestion in Gracemere around Lawrie St was not addressed as part of the upgrade as originally planned but when asked, Mr O'Dowd said he was wanted to see the duplication project over the line first.
"It's up to the Rockhampton Regional Council and the State Government to look at the Lawrie St project," he said.
"It does need doing and I draw their attention to it and I hope they get something done in the near future."
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said he had been in discussions with Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey about the Gracemere congestion issue and had shown him around the trouble spots including the Paddy McDonald bridge and the school crossing.
"I can assure you that I am lobbying hard to get that funding," Mr O'Rourke said.
"It is a significant and expensive project but I'm very keen to see it happen and it is something that I am absolutely passionate about delivering for the people of Gracemere."